LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey that would dedicate over half a billion dollars to transforming Michigan’s broken mental health system was approved by a near unanimous vote of the Michigan Senate on Wednesday.
“Our state’s mental health system is failing patients, their families, health care providers, and taxpayers,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Everyone in our state should have access to quality mental health services regardless of their means or where they live. Today, we’ve taken a critical step toward making sure they do.”
Senate Bill 714, which is a supplemental appropriations measure, would invest $565 million in mostly federal funding to provide communities with resources for jail diversion, create treatment units to reduce emergency room overcrowding, and bolster substance abuse programs. The bill would also invest significantly in community hospitals to increase bed capacity and make needed structural improvements; to help attract and retain mental health professionals; and in programs specifically designed to proactively address mental health risks among children.
“The status quo is simply not acceptable,” Shirkey said. “The targeted, strategic investments in this bill are an important first step toward comprehensively fixing Michigan’s broken mental health system,” Shirkey said. “With additional mental health integration reforms already introduced, through good governance, and by a concerted effort from Michigan residents to support the mental health of themselves, their loved ones, their neighbors and their coworkers, we can get people the care they need.”
SB 714 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.